Valentine’s Day originates from the ancient Roman fertility festival of Lupercalia. During the festival, young men would draw the names of women from a box, and each couple would be paired until the following year’s celebration. Often they would fall in love and marry.
At around 270 AD Rome was facing battles and civil uprising. The men were not keen to join the army. Emperor Claudius II believed that the men did not want to leave their loved ones and summarily canceled all marriages and engagements. Two priests, Valentine and Marius, disobeyed the decree and secretly performed marriage ceremonies. Valentine was caught on February 14th and dragged to jail. Later in the day he was clubbed to death and beheaded. It is said that, before his execution, Valentine himself had fallen in love with the jailer’s daughter. He signed his final note to her, “From your Valentine.”
The fertility festival was celebrated until 496 AD when Pope Gelasius replaced it with a similar celebration. For patron saint of the celebration he chose the lovers’ saint, St Valentine. He also moved the date of the celebration from the 15th of February to the date of St Valentine’s death, February 14th. Through the centuries, Valentine’s Day came to be remembered more as the festival of love than as a religious day.
In 1969 it was dropped from the Roman Catholic calendar as a designated feast day. Esther Howland, the woman who produced the first commercial American Valentine’s Day cards in the 1840s, sold $5,000 in cards her first year of business. Today, over 1 billion Valentine’s cards are sent in the US – second in number only to Christmas cards.
I. READING COMPREHENSION
CHOOSE AND WRITE THE CORRECT OPTION (A, B, C or D).
1. During Lupercalia:
- (a) young men and women were paired.
- (b) young men and women had their names put in a box.
- (c) young men and women fell in love.
- (d) men’s names were drawn from a box.
2. Why did Emperor Claudius II cancel all marriages and engagements?
- (a) Because he wanted men to stay with their loved ones.
- (b) Because Lupercalia caused street riots.
- (c) Because he needed men for his army.
- (d) Because he was against Lupercalia.
3. Why was Valentine dragged to jail?
- (a) Because he was a Roman priest.
- (b) Because he performed marriage ceremonies.
- (c) Because he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter.
- (d) Because he disobeyed the emperor.
ARE THESE STATEMENTS TRUE OR FALSE? JUSTIFY YOUR ANSWERS WITH THE PRECISE WORDS OR PHRASES FROM THE TEXT
4. Valentine died in love.
5. St. Valentine’s Day is no longer a Roman Catholic festivity today.
6. Nowadays there are more Valentine’s cards than Christmas cards sold in the US.
- FALSE: “Today, over 1 billion Valentine’s cards are sent in the US – second in number only to Christmas cards.”
II. USE OF ENGLISH
7. FIND IN THE TEXT ONE WORD THAT HAS THE FOLLOWING DEFINITION: “an official decision or order made by a leader or government”
8. FILL IN THE GAP WITH THE CORRECT OPTION: for/ up/ out / in
- Let me finish the book. I want to find out what happens in the end.
9. GIVE A SYNONYM FOR “jail” (noun) AS IT IS USED IN THE TEXT (LINE 7).
10. GIVE A NOUN WITH THE SAME ROOT AS “draw” (verb).
11. WHICH WORD IS NOT AN ADJECTIVE?:
- lucky/ friendly/ likely/ quickly
12. WHICH WORD DOES NOT HAVE THE SAME MEANING?:
- grant/ give/ borrow / lend
13. FILL IN THE GAP WITH A CORRECT FORM OF THE VERB IN BRACKETS:
- They should have paid / payed (pay) before they left.
14. GIVE A QUESTION FOR THE UNDERLINED WORDS: Lupercalia was celebrated every year.
15. REWRITE THE SENTENCE WITHOUT CHANGING ITS MEANING. BEGIN AS INDICATED: They were not warned about the risks.
- Nobody warned them about the risks.
16. USE THE WORDS IN THE BOXES TO MAKE A MEANINGFUL SENTENCE. USE ALL AND ONLY THE WORDS IN THE BOXES WITHOUT CHANGING THEIR FORM:
summer - last - they - painted - their - had - house
17. COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONAL SENTENCE:
- If today was my birthday I would (be really happy).
18. WRITE A COMPOSITION OF APPROXIMATELY 120 WORDS ABOUT THE TOPIC PROPOSED. YOU MUST FOCUS STRICTLY ON IT:
- Describe your favourite festivities of the year and explain why you like them.